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Just for fun, a goofy DIY project
Tiny Part Pick-up
© Frank Ford 2008; Photos by FF

I drop lots of things, big and little.  Mostly little.  And, often enough I have a lot of trouble finding the suicidal little item.

Here's a little project I put together, partly for aid in finding those little bits among the rubble on my shop floor, and partly just for fun.

I salvaged an old kitchen strainer to donate its mesh for the project, and I recycled one of those canisters from a stack of CD ROM blanks.

Two ninety degree elbows and one forty-five degree elbow along with a couple of feet of 1" PVC  plumbing and the silicone glue camefrom my local ACE hardware store.  This is a vacuum attachment, and my shop vacuum has a 1-1/2 inch diameter hose, so I didn't have to worry about adapting to the hose. Big shop vacs and other systems will need appropriate adapters, which you can make from plastic parts in the plumbing department

Cut a 1/2" piece PVC pipe and use it to mark two holes you'll make in the base of the CD can. Here I'm using a knife  to mark and cut the holes, stabbing downward as I cut:


No need to be precise, just make the hole big enough fo the pipe to fit through:

Use a hacksaw to cut 1/4" pieces off one end of both 90 degree elbows:

Neatness is an option, here too.


To fit my vacuum takes a 1-1/2 input I used a file to the end of one elbow to fit into the hose:

Your mileage may vary, of course, so here's where you'll improvise to attach to your own personal sucker. 

Cut off a 3/4" section of plain pipe, and glue it with that sticky silicone stuff into the cut end of one elbow:


Then stick it throught he base of the canister and seal it in place by potting it with more silicon adhesive and squishing on one of the 1/4" sections  you cut off the elbow:


You make the outlet the same way, but instead of using the 3/4" section sticking up inside the cannister, you'l use a 1-1/2" section of pipe, sealing it the same way with the 1/4" ring and silicone sealer.


Chop out the screen with scissors:


Cutting slits, trial fitting, and forming to the end of the inlet pipe is another place where neatness isn't the issue.  You just want good coverage:

Mine looked like this when I got it to form around the pipe:

A stapler works well to make the little boot stay in shape:


Then, you'll have a nice screen cap for the pipe:


Squidge on a bunch more of that sticky goo as you glue and seal the screen in place:

Add a 45 degree elbow to the air inlet side, and the rig is basically complete:

And, ready to use once you attach the clear cannister:

You might want to leave the glue off that final section of pipe so you can switch to a different length later if you want.  A friction fit will hold well enough


OK, let's give this one a test drive:

I drop a nearly invisible, nonmagnetic 0-80 stainless cap screw, and use my new gizmo to suck up all the little bits in the area.


A lot of the usual suspects - chips, dust, shavings - and, I hope, my little screw get trapped against the screen in the cannister:

Yup, here's that little rascal:

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